Authors: Rita Stradling
Fourteen Day Soul Detox
This novella is a work of fiction. Names, characters, incidents and
places are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, or real
persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2016
by Rita Stradling.
All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit this book
in any form or by any means. For subsidiary rights please contact the
Cover and Interior:
Title Font by WC
Author Font on Cover
by Tup Wanders
this serial is for my sisters and girl friends, because if I did not
have such true friends in my life, I would never be able to write
Fourteen Day Soul Detox
In the next fourteen days, I plan to:
Cut back on my coffee intake.
Gain some of my weight back.
Start getting some exercise again. Yoga? Maybe.
Take on my daughter’s school board.
Sell my coffee shop.
Go on a date.
Stop wearing my wedding ring.
Spread my husband’s ashes.
Forgive the woman who killed him.
Stop sleeping with her ex-husband.
Remember what love feels like.
14)(Vetoed and erased from the list.)
After exiting my car and crossing the
parking lot at the side of my duplex, I peeked around the building.
Soft white light outlined my front door and porch. Almost no light
escaped into Clarke’s neighboring yard, and I had to squint to
bring the yard into focus.
Unless he was ducking behind our
adjoining fence, he wasn’t in his yard. I took a deep breath.
Behind me, a loud swooshing sound broke
I jumped, spinning to see a neighbor
stepping out of the light and away from their open window.
Exhaling heavily, I turned back to my
Clarke still wasn’t there, no one
“You’re being such a
chicken shit,” I whispered to myself. Taking my phone out of my
purse, I pulled up Cameron’s name.
you open the front door for me?
A second later, Cameron opened the
door. He stepped out, looking around. The light silhouetted his dark
hair, giving him a crown of light.
I hurried up to him, not quite running,
but close. “Hey,” I said in a low voice.
“Everything okay?” Cameron
asked when I stopped a step away from him. Though shadows entirely
masked his features, I could feel his gaze intently on mine.
I nodded. “Yeah, fine.”
“Okay, good,” he said,
stepping back inside.
After following him in, I turned,
making sure to lock both locks before looking back to Cameron.
He smiled down at me. “Hey, baby,
how was work?”
“Busy, busy. But I made almost
three hundred in tips.”
“Nice,” he said, leaning
down and giving me a soft kiss on my lips. “I still haven’t
given you your birthday present,” he said, stepping back but
taking my hand.
“Oh, yeah,” I said,
grinning. I tossed my purse onto the table we walked past.
“Yep, it’s all wrapped up
in your room,” he said with a smoldering grin.
I laughed. “That type of present,
“You’ll have to see,”
he said, bobbing his eyebrows at me.
“Ha, okay. I’ll just check
on Sarah, and then meet you in there,” I said, lifting his hand
up and giving it a quick kiss before releasing it.
Sarah was fast asleep in her bed, her
leg thrown over the covers. She snored softly, her wavy hair streaks
of blonde in a sea of purple.
I tucked her foot back under her covers
and smoothed the blanket over her. Giving her a soft kiss on her
forehead, I whispered, “I love you, angel.”
Quickly, I checked that the window in
her room was securely locked, and then I left her room, closing the
door behind me.
I walked into my room to find Cameron
lying across my bed.
I stopped, just taking in the sight of
him lying across my bed. His head was propped up with his hand. The
grin twisting his lips invited me closer.
“I never see you on my bed,”
I said, then I corrected, “When I’m not in it.”
“Do you want me to sleep in your
bed?” he asked, and though his expression stayed casual, his
gaze seemed intense.
“Well… Sarah still crawls
in bed with me most nights,” I said, shrugging.
“If you warned her first, I think
she can handle it. I’ve been staying over for close to a year
now and she sees how we act together.”
I swallowed. “Maybe… Could
we talk about it later? I’m just a little too tired to talk
about anything serious.”
“Yeah.” He nodded, and then
looked down. Looking back into my eyes, he took a deep breath.
“Alright, well, come over here I want to give you your
He held up a medium-size rectangular
package, wrapped in tissue paper.
I crawled onto the bed toward him.
Cameron dropped the box, and grabbed
me, leading me to straddle his lap.
“Is it a book?” I asked,
looking down at him.
“You’ll see,” he said
with a grin.
Picking the package up from where it
landed on the bed, I ran my finger under the tape. The tissue paper
tore in a long fissure up the length of the present. Pulling the
paper away, I stared down at a photo-montage frame.
“The Ultimate Sunshine Tour,”
he said, with a grin.
There were three pictures, one with
both of us screaming, the other was just of me, looking over my
shoulder at him, almost lost in the immense crowd. In the third
picture, I was kissing his cheek, Cameron’s eyes squeezed
closed, and a smile stretched wide across his face.
“I thought you lost that
disposable camera?” I said excitedly. I pointed to the fourth
frame. “Wow, Cameron! And those are the tickets. You kept the
“Of course I did,” he said.
“How old were we here?
“Sixteen,” he said.
“We look so young…”
I laughed. “Remember how everyone was so mad at us for ditching
that end of summer bonfire thing.”
“Yeah,” he said.
“That was… to this day,
probably the best concert I ever went to. We had so much fun. I don’t
know if you remember this, but you kissed me while we were dancing.”
“I remember,” he said.
I smiled at him. “Me too. I had
such a crush on you that summer. But, you know, you were brand new to
town, and I knew you kissed a lot of girls, so I didn’t think
too much of it.”
“Who told you that I kissed a lot
of girls?” he asked.
“I don’t know…
probably Logan,” I said, laughing. “He was so jealous
after we went to that show, so angry and brooding. He wouldn’t
even talk to me for days and then, bam, he asked me out. We were
always in this ‘maybe’ place, and then suddenly he asked
me out after all those years. I always wondered if the idea that I
had a crush on you was what prompted him to ask me out.”
“Probably. Logan knew that I was
really into you, I’m sure that helped encourage him to act
too,” he said.
“You were?” I asked,
surprised. I looked up from the picture to smile at him. “I
always thought you just thought of me as a friend back then. Aside
from, you know, how much chemistry we had—but you were so
popular with the ladies, you seemed to have chemistry with everyone.”
His hand came up to run through my
hair. “I was crazy about you.”
“How funny,” I breathed out
a laugh. “Imagine how things would have been different if you’d
just asked me out first,” I mused, meeting his gaze.
He didn’t say, ‘I have
imagined that,’ but the serious expression he regarded me with
said it loud and clear. Finally, he said, “I’m glad
things happened the way they did, even though some of it was rough,
because we have Sarah in our life.”
I swallowed heavily. “She’s
the center of my life.”
“I know,” he said, he
looked deeply into my eyes as if he was saying something silently
that I could almost hear.
“Well, I love the present,”
I said, leaning over to place it on my nightstand. “Thank you
Cameron’s hands came up to my
hips as I moved, then pulled me back to him. His hand grazed up the
side of my body, as I looked down at him.
“Hey beautiful,” he
Leaning down, I kissed him.
His hands immediately threaded through
my hair, pulling me closer into him. He kissed me deeply, our breaths
soon coming heavily between us. I felt him lifting at the hem of my
shirt and I broke away to let him lift my shirt off me. With a quick
flick of his fingers, my bra followed. With one arm around my back
and the other cupping my head, Cameron rolled us over so that he was
now on top of me.
Letting out a little gasp, I smiled up
He gave me a mischievous grin before
his lips started making their way down my chest as his fingers
unbuttoned my jeans, and slowly let down the zipper. His hand
caressed over my lacy underwear, then slipped under.
Minutes later, we were both naked and
my body was liquid with waves of pleasure washing over me. Cameron
poised to enter me.
His eyes locked on mine, and I stared
up at him, completely captivated. Again, it was as if he was speaking
to me only with his gaze. His lips came down hard on mine as he
entered me gently.
A long time later, Cameron collapsed
over me, his breath heavy. “Hmm, this is my happy place,”
he whispered, chuckling before pulling out of me.
My hand slipped over his back, feeling
over the ridges of muscle. “I like this feeling. You’re
so heavy, but it feels really nice.” I closed my eyes, but
blinked them open. “We need to shower, and I think I might need
to change my bed sheets too. We’re so sweaty.”
Cameron slipped down my body, so that
his head rested on my stomach. “If you just stay here for one
more minute, I’ll do the bed sheets and let you take a shower
“Okay, but you have to wake me if
I fall asleep,” I said, closing my eyes.
“I will,” he said, kissing
my stomach. Then a second later, “Baby?”
“Huh?” I said, blinking
furiously. My heavy eyelids glued themselves together.
“You fell asleep,” Cameron
whispered. When I fought my eyes open, I whispered, “Whoa, you
“You fell asleep,” he
repeated, kissing me lightly on my lips. “Do you want my help
in the shower?”
“Um…” I sat up with
some effort, but immediately sagged forward while I scanned the room.
“No, I have it,” I said. Scooting forward off the bed, I
trudged to the bathroom across the hall.
Turning on the faucet to the right
temperature, I stepped into the spray. The tears came then, hot and
immediate, as if the faucet had turned them on too. Stuffing my hand
in my mouth, I muffled the sounds of my sobs. I turned from the spray
and moved my hand away to take a couple deep breaths.
“I can’t keep doing this,”
I whispered, pressing my head into the cool tile of the shower wall.
Turning off the faucet, I wrapped a
towel around me. I took a deep breath before walking into my bedroom.
Cameron looked up from where he was
laying a new top sheet over my bed. He smiled over at me.
“You don’t need to do that,
Cameron,” I said.
“That was our deal, remember?”
he said. “Now come lie down and I’ll tuck you in.”
“I can’t just yet, I have
to put on some pajamas,” I said, not quite able to meet his
“Alright, I’ll wait,”
“Cameron, I…” I
looked up into his gaze, into his beautiful, smiling face. “Are
you okay with things just staying as they are between us?”
“Yeah,” he said,
“Forever? Or, until someone else
comes along for you?” I said.
His eyelids narrowed and brow furrowed.
“Jamie, it might take a while, but one day you’re going
to be ready to move on completely. I can wait for that day.”
I sat down on the bed, tears running
down my face. “I don’t want you to be waiting for me to
move on, Cameron. It’s not fair to you,” I said.
He kneeled down in front of me. “I
don’t want to be anywhere else.”